When attempting to research your Irish ancestors, you should first understand the system of Irish land divisions.
administrative divisions in Ireland consisted of a variety of land
units in descending order of size:
Province, County, Barony, Parish and
the landholding of a feudal baron, the barony is now an obsolete
administrative unit that is mid-way in size
between a county and a
The system of bringing Irish local kingdoms into the feudal
system of baronies began in the medieval period
but did not extend to
the whole of Ulster until the early 17th century.
Large baronies were later subdivided until there were 58 baronies in the area that comprises the present day Northern Ireland.
Baronies of County Wicklow
- Lower Talbotstown
- Upper Talbotstown
- Ballinacor North
- Ballinacor South
A territorial unit equivalent to the English shire, it was created
by the English administration in Ireland
as the major subdivision of an
Irish province and dates from the 13th to the 17th century.
counties as they are today were planned in 1584 but many existed long
before this date.
Antrim and Down had been counties from the 13th or 14th centuries
but their modern boundaries were not settled until 1605,
modern boundary and the new county name of Londonderry did not come
into existence until 1613 although it had
existed from Anglo-Norman
times with different boundaries and under the name of Coleraine.
An ecclesiastical unit of territory that came into existence in
Ireland in its present form in the 12th and 13th centuries
continued by the Established Church of Ireland after the Reformation.
It was then adopted as a civil administrative area but over time the
boundaries of some civil and ecclesiastical parishes
came to vary from
Roman Catholic parishes, for example, when re-instated,
were often redrawn to suit the needs of their parishioners.
civil parishes may extend across rivers that were often used to
delineate the boundaries of counties and baronies,
civil parishes can
be in more than one county and in more than one barony.
This is the earliest and largest administrative division in Ireland
dating back into prehistory and early historic times.
originally five Provinces in the island of Ireland with provincial
'overkings' who were supported
by the kings of the smaller local
kingdoms within them.
However, by the 17th century this had been
reduced to the four modern Provinces of Ulster, Connaught, Leinster and
Present day Northern Ireland comprises six of the nine counties
established in the Province of Ulster
- the Ulster counties of Cavan,
Donegal and Monaghan lie in the Republic of Ireland.
The townland is an ancient unit, dating back to pre-Norman times,
and is the smallest administrative division
throughout the island of
Ireland that is still in use. It is the common term or English
translation for a variety of
small local land units that varied in name
and meaning throughout the island of Ireland.
In the north there had been a large division called a 'ballybetagh,'
generally divided into around 12 'ballyboes',
but into around 16
'tates' in the area of Fermanagh and Monaghan.
The 'ballyboe' was
notionally of 120 acres and the 'tate', 60 acres, but these
measurements clearly referred to useable land
in an area that might
also include marsh and mountain waste.
The 'ballyboe' might be further
divided into three 'sessiaghs' while the term 'carrow' (Irish
'ceathramh', a 'quarter') may refer to
either a quarter of a
'ballybetagh' or a quarter of a 'ballyboe'.
The 'ballybetagh' disappeared after the Plantation and the
subdivisions became the modern townlands, the average size of which,
most of Northern Ireland, is now c.350 acres but c.180 acres in
The spelling of townland names is subject to considerable
variation due largely to the difficulties of representing the
pronunciation of Irish language names in English spelling.
Townlands of County Wicklow
For a full list of townlands of County Wicklow, see
List of townlands of County Wicklow,
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
DISTRICT ELECTORAL DIVISION/WARD
The District Electoral Divisions (D.E.Ds) were originally
established under the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act 1838
as poor law
electoral divisions but their present names up to 1972 were fixed under
the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898.
They formed the territorial
units in rural districts for the election of members of Rural District
The equivalent territorial unit for the purpose of elections
in county boroughs, municipal boroughs and urban districts is the Ward.
In the larger urban areas there will be a number of Wards but in the
smaller urban areas the entire urban district acts as a Ward.
new district councils were set up and these 26 districts were
subdivided into 526 Wards
which were in turn grouped into 98 District
Electoral Areas for local government elections.
However, these District
Electoral Areas and Wards are different in composition from pre-1973
D.E.Ds and Wards.
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